If you stick a knife in my back nine inches and pull it out six inches, that’s not progress. If you pull it all the way out, that’s not progress. The progress comes from healing the wound that the blow made. They haven’t even begun to pull the knife out. They won’t even admit the knife is there.
– Malcolm X
Today, I have a heavy heart. Last night, I watched as the country’s “judicial system” reiterated the message that has been circulating since African slaves were brought to the Americas in shackles on slave ships: the lives of black people do not matter.
For those of you who may be catching up to this controversial discussion, on August 9, 2014, Michael Brown, an unarmed black teenager from Ferguson, Missouri was fatally shot by white police officer, Darren Wilson. Yesterday, November 24, 2014, after over 100 days of Officer Wilson’s paid leave, wedding, and all around liberty, the grand jury officially declared that the killing of Brown was not a criminal act.
Last night, the nation watched as prosecuting attorney Robert McCulloch presented the final decision of the grand jury which determined that Darren Wilson will not be indicted. Therefore, Wilson will not be charged and he will not go to trial. He will not lose the accolades earned on the force. He will even be able to return to the force if he ever wanted to. He will be able to enjoy every day with his new wife. He will be able to live off the $400,000 raised in support of his defense. He will be able to travel the world, make babies, and see them grow up. He will not lose his freedom and privilege to be a white man in America. Darren Wilson will live to tell his story and see another day.
Michael Brown, Jr. will not.
Now, with all of the “evidence” collected for the “full investigation”, there are various aspects of this tragic situation that led to the decision against indictment. Without going on a tangent and clouding you with full on details of the scenario, I would like to make this clear: The American judicial system has made it evident that Michael Brown’s life was of lesser value than a pack of Swisher Sweet Cigarillos. According to the operating standards of the American judicial system, it is more effective and important to use deadly force in order to make a “profound” point against stealing a pack of cigarillos than to arrest an unlawful individual and allow him to be rightfully represented in the court of law. According to the American judicial system, Michael Brown deserved to die.
There is no denying that this case is beyond racially charged. I refuse to sit back and allow anyone to tell me otherwise. I refuse to sit back and allow anyone to say that racism no longer exists in America because that my friends is a bold faced lie. The craziest part of this whole thing is that as a black woman, I have dealt with racism for as long as I can remember – both conscious and subconscious racism. It still exists and as sad as it is, I can live with that because everyone has a right to their own opinion. What I cannot live with is the institutional racism that allows the bigots and racists to lead and “serve to protect” the citizens of this country.
Institutionalized racism makes it so that the people who do not give a damn about the lives of people of color on a personal level are in positions of power. Within these positions of power and authority they aim to find every legal way possible to ensure people of color remain the institutionalized “minority” citizens that they have always been in this country. The systemic racism allows the law to protect those it was created for – and if we are all caught up with our U.S History, the laws created and enforced are those that protect and serve the white men who created them. Thus as of November 25, 2014, the Constitution and all of its Amendments still exists to protect and serve the Founding Fathers of this “free” country and their decedents – and no, I’m not talking about the Native Americans.
Daily the Negro is coming more and more to look upon law and justice, not as protecting safeguards, but as sources of humiliation and oppression. The laws are made by men who have little interest in him; they are executed by men who have absolutely no motive for treating the black people with courtesy and consideration; and, finally, the accused law-breaker is tried, not by his peers, but too often by men who would rather punish ten innocent Negroes than let one guilty one escape.
– W. E. B. Du Bois
In the case of Michael Brown, Jr., justice never had the opportunity to be served because the law was never created to protect the victim; a black teenager from Ferguson, Missouri. Riddle me this: how is it possible to take down and arrest the crazed man who was heavily armed and shot up a crowded movie theater in Colorado, but an unarmed teenager who is accused of doing something as silly as stealing a pack of cigarillos from a package store and arguably “resisting” initial orders from police is fatally gunned down without any plausible cause for a criminal act against the unarmed teen. How exactly is it that the life of the white man who massacred innocent people is spared, yet a black teenager’s life was revoked practically on sight without any chance of a slap on the wrist for stealing, or even a fair trial for the man who’s hands pulled the trigger. How exactly does that work out America? And how exactly can anyone argue that race is not a major talking point in this
discussion national issue?
Boston police officers and even the National Guard were commended for being able to successfully negotiate with one of the Boston Marathon Bombers who was literally throwing homemade grenades at police! Yet, there were about 20-30 feet of questionable charging/advancement from an unarmed Brown towards the armed and trained-to-kill Wilson that were justified terms for his slaying. And you wonder why we are angry. I, by-no-means condone violence and destruction of a community, especially a community of which we live in. There are other ways to express your anger. However, a message needs to be sent and change needs to occur! We are tired of seeing our people killed and watching as the heinous acts are justified by not only the people who have committed them and all their supporters, but by the law! In 2014, according to the operating standards of law enforcement and the American judicial system, a young black man poses just as large, if not more of a deadly threat than those who initiate real acts of terror throughout this country.
It is terrifying to think that my friends, my brother, my uncles, or even my father could be gunned down for making a minor mistake while simply being black and have it justified in the court of law. So to answer the question as to who will survive in America, I think it’s pretty clear that the people who will survive are those who have always been destined to survive in America – and it definitely isn’t people who look like Michael Brown.